Stuck in Stereotypes

Have you seen how Toyota is marketing one its mini-vans?  Talk about stereotypes, and a sore attempt at rap.

Ads like this disturb me.  It’s a staunch reminder of the power of advertising and how it seriously reinforces the values all of us are “supposed “to have.  Advertising has staggering statistics: the average city-dweller is exposed to 5,000 advertising messages a day, the average household watches more than ..

..eight hours of television per day and 65 percent of people say they are constantly bombarded with advertising. In this ad’s case, it reinforces the perfect little family = mom, dad, the little boy and girl (god forbid one child or even kids of the  same gender), and all the things we’re supposed to do as parents, not to mention parents modeling not caring much about gas consumption–it’s selling pronatalism + consumption + don’t worry there’ll always be enough oil so keep a guzzlin.  It is also disturbing that most of the youtube comments Love the ad. And the ad goes further with more videos taking us into the lives of this “perfect” happy mini van family.

What is at the source of perpetuating the perfect child-centric family and ads that represent it? Powerful pronatalist values.  Then add the promotion of consumption.  They may be out there, so point me to them, but where are the car ads with hot new hybrids (and hopefully soon electric cars) with happy couples of all races and no kids?  To see these kind of ads, market research results need to be different and show we want to see more than the perfect nuclear family when being pitched to sell products.  At least the idea of not having children by choice has to be more fully accepted.  Seeing ads like “the swagger wagon”  keeps me motivated to continue to try and find ways to push not just tolerance of the childfree life, but acceptance of it.

What kind of ads concern you? Bug you? Get you going?

4 thoughts on “Stuck in Stereotypes

  1. This is silly, but the commercial that bugged me the most was a few years ago the Hanes ad with a mom and girl about 12 or 13, and they were having a “Kodak moment” listening to music on the bed together… and then there was a shot of their Hanes socks. Somehow Hanes socks brought them together? Really? The commercial was so dumb but I supposed a bunch of women who were having trouble with their daughters subliminally decided to buy Hanes socks in hopes of a similar Kodak moment.

    I also hated the Jiff campaign about how “Choosy Moms Choose Jiff” as if peanut butter was a kids’ food! I stopped buying Jiff and haven’t bought it since.

  2. I read this with interest…Here’s my view. It’s a mini-van. Any car maker would be insane to market mini-vans to any other demographic than couples with a couple (at least) of kids. That’s their market and so I quite understand why the swagger wagon would be targeting couples with children. I ignore the ads as I am not their market. Why would I buy a mini-van that is designed (and I am serious – the mini-van was designed for soccer moms) for parents with kids? Answer -I wouldn’t and they know it.

    I think you will find it is different for luxury cars, high end cars, sports cars, sports cars and newer hybrid cars… I can recall seeing several that have just either singles or cool couples… all have zero kids in them.I know I’ve seen the ads in Canada at least though they are Ameerican ads.

    As for stereotypes… advertising relys on stereotypes…when the footing is questionable they look for the stablest ground and they walk on it. Advertising is not known for forging new pathways. Yes – there is a lot of advertising that is “out there” but at that point they generally want to draw attention to themselves to get noticed.

    As for YouTube comments…I really wouldn’t rate anything by that standard, they are usually of the lowest common denominator… emphasis on “common.”

    1. Thanks for the thoughts~I agree that the companies market to their target market, and that is part of the problem I have–that the target market is the perfect 2 kid nuclear family, when in reality more and more that is just not the case, not to mention lots of other kind of folks have minivans e.g., cart around big pet (s), stuff for their business or both. I also don’t like the consumer and who give a hoot about gas consumption but that is related to my sustainability concerns. You Tube comments yep agree probably lowest “common” denominator, and that is what scare me too!

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